What constitutes a strong foundation for a marriage?
A marriage relationship can be one of the most rewarding experiences two people can have this side of heaven—or it can be one of the most difficult. Too many couples enter into the marriage relationship relying solely on the power of their feelings rather than establishing healthy relational habits. But feelings can come and go, and if that’s all your marriage is built on, you’re in trouble. As Mark Altrogge points out, “Genuine love is not primarily a feeling, but a costly decision to sacrifice yourself for the good of another person.”
By the same token, too many couples allow their relationship to drift into “autopilot”—that is to say, they are not intentional about making their marriage a priority. Instead, they allow the busyness of life or other demands to push their relationship into the background, thinking that they’ll have time later to work on it. When things eventually slow down, they may discover that they have grown apart, operating more as roommates than as marriage partners.
We have gathered a list of 12 habits and principles that will help you build a stronger relationship with your husband or wife. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but it is certainly a great place to start.
12 Ways to Build a Strong Marriage Relationship:
- Be intentional about spending time together and doing things you both enjoy.
- Forgive quickly. This sounds simple, but it is one of the most challenging parts of a marriage relationship for many. On the flip side, when you’ve made a mistake, admit it and humbly ask for forgiveness.
- Surround yourself with friends who will strengthen your marriage. Don’t spend time with people who will tear down your marriage or may even tempt you to compromise your character.
- Make sex a priority. A good marriage relationship is built on more than sex, but it is an important element of a strong marriage.
- Keep communication lines open. Don’t assume you know what your spouse is thinking or feeling. Ask them, and listen attentively when they are talking.
- Join a thriving community of faith. A good church and regular fellowship with other believers can make a huge difference in your lives.
- Pick your battles. Don’t waste time on nitpicking. If you believe the issue is truly important, discuss it in a respectful way with your spouse.
- PRAY together. It is one of the most intimate acts a couple can experience together, and it will strengthen your bond.
- Try to be the biggest servant in the house. Don’t keep score of how well your spouse is serving you. Instead, ask yourself how you can better serve your spouse.
- Remember that your spouse can never meet all of your needs—they were not designed for that. Look to God as your source of satisfaction, and build friendships with others who will support your marriage.
- Keep in mind that you don’t always need to offer solutions for your spouse’s problems. Sometimes a hug and a listening ear communicate more love than your advice.
- Remember that even in a strong marriage, it is rare that both spouses are feeling strong at the same time. It’s normal for husband and wife to take turns being strong for each other in the moments when the other feels weak.
We hope this list will be helpful to you whether you’ve been married for 30 minutes or 30 years. And please, if you know another tip for building a strong marriage relationship, share it in the comments.
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